- Extra-time goal gives Germany World Cup title over Argentina
- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
Separation of powers fight roils Pakistan
Top judge: Arrest prime minister
Question of the Day
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s top court ordered the arrest of the prime minister in a corruption case Tuesday, the latest clash between the government and a judiciary that repeatedly has pressured the country’s political leaders.
The ruling is sure to inflame the already antagonistic relationship between the court and the government, pushing the country toward yet another political crisis.
It also could provide ammunition to Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a firebrand Muslim cleric who was leading tens of thousands of people in a second day of rallies in Islamabad to press for the removal of the government, which he criticized as corrupt and indifferent to the common man.
The Supreme Court order against Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was related to a case involving private power stations set up to provide electricity to energy-starved Pakistan. The judges are investigating allegations that the bidding process was marred by corruption.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry ordered the arrest of 16 people involved in the case, including Mr. Ashraf, who previously served as minister for water and power, said the written court order.
An adviser to the prime minister, Fawad Chaudhry, said any attempt to arrest the prime minister would be unconstitutional since he enjoys immunity from prosecution while in office.
“We consider it a judicial coup, and it is part of a greater plan to derail democracy,” Fawad Chaudhry said.
The judges pressured Mr. Ashraf as well, and the government finally agreed to the court’s demand to ask the Swiss to pursue the case — which Swiss authorities have said privately they have no intention of doing because Mr. Zardari enjoys immunity while in office.
It was unclear whether there was any connection between the Supreme Court’s order and Mr. ul-Qadri’s rally. But some speculated it was a scripted one-two blow by the chief justice and the cleric to strike at their opponents in the government.
Mr. ul-Qadri has seized on alleged corruption by Pakistani politicians to rally support for his protest against the government.
The cleric rocketed to national prominence after his return from Canada late last year, and his message has galvanized many Pakistanis who say the government has brought them only misery.
But critics fear that Mr. ul-Qadri and his demands for election reforms may derail the country’s upcoming democratic elections, possibly at the behest of the country’s powerful military — allegations denied by the cleric.
Those concerns could intensify following a fiery speech he delivered Tuesday to protesters, in which he condemned the country’s politicians as corrupt thieves and lavished praise on the Supreme Court and the military, which has a history of toppling civilian governments in coups.
He said they are the only two institutions in Pakistan that “are functioning and performing their duties to fulfill the needs of the people.”
TWT Video Picks
By Robert N. Tracci
Congress must use its appropriations power to secure the border
- DOJ investigates Nebraska parade float critical of Obama
- A 'new Cold War': China's top paper warns of 'slippery slope' towards conflict with U.S.
- Agency scrubs Malia Obama photos at White House's request: report
- Violent gang MS-13 taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Emeryville, Calif., police chief: Guns aren't for defense
- CURL: The hypocrisy of Obama's 15-day Vineyard vacation
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- New York City creates ID card so 500K illegal immigrants can get services
- Economists see signs of another market bubble
- Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi formerly a U.S. captive
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs